[ISEA95] Artist Statement: John Tonkin — Elective Physiognomies

Artist Statement

Physiognomy is the reading of a person’s character from the physical features of their face. It raises questions about the nature of identity, to what extent is identity essential, to what extent constructed. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, yet we obviously use non-verbal means of communication. The rigid schematism of a physiognomical treatise demonstrates a desire for exactness in the knowledge of these inexact things. Contemporary fields of scientific research, eg. the Human Genome Project, seem just as prone to tendencies of over-simplification as those of the enlightenment.

  • John Tonkin (Australia) electronic media artist whose video installation “These are the days” was shown at FISEA (ISEA88). Recent screenings of his computer animations include Siggraph 93, Ars Electronica 94 and Videofest 95. He is currently visiting lecturer in computer animation at the Australian Centre for the Arts and Technology, Australian National University.